In other shootout action, Pine Bluff, Ark., ruined the debut of NMCC head coach Travis Day and defeated the Eagles 80-51 in the first contest of the day.
In the second game, Memphis Central downed Bell City 72-38 and St. Louis powerhouse Vashon kept right on rolling with new head coach Anthony Bonner and destroyed Byhalia, Miss., 75-28.
Charleston struggled early in the last game of the night, but caught fire midway through the third quarter and into the fourth.
The score was knotted at 47 with three minutes to play in the third quarter until the Bluejays ended the quarter on a 7-0 run. Charleston did not let a pause in the action blunt their momentum as the Bluejays scored 11 straight to open the fourth.
"We didn't know what to expect tonight," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "We were hoping we would play like we have in practice and overall I am pleased with our effort."
The effort by Charleston should be especially pleasing because they were without the services of 6-foot-5 all-state senior Jamarcus Williams who is still nursing a leg injury.
"Jamarcus is our leading scorer and it was tough to play without him," said Farmer. "The guys played extremely hard and it is nice to get the first win of the season out of the way."
The Blue Devils hung tough in the first half thanks in part to the play of 6-3 senior Tresdan Winkfield, who had 13 points in the first half.
After zero turnovers in the first quarter, Charleston got careless with the ball in the second with six turnovers and allowed West Memphis to stay in the game. The game was tied at 31 at halftime.
Despite the tie at half, West Memphis had problems all game trying to break the pressure of the Bluejays and it finally caught up with the Blue Devils in the second half.
Charleston forced 19 turnovers in the contest and were led by the cat-quick duo of senior Shawn Sherrell and sophomore Antonio Riggens. The guard combo combined for six steals, three apiece, to ignite the Bluejays down the stretch.
"I believe the key to the game for us was that West Memphis just got tired late in the game," said Farmer. "Shawn and Antonio did a real good job of forcing the action out there. Those two are going to give teams some problems this year."
After a slow shooting start in the first half, senior Justin Clark found his range in the second half. Clark scored 16 of his 20 points in the latter half and sparked the run in the third quarter by hitting a clutch 3-pointer and got a two-handed breakaway jam that got the crowd on its feet.
Winkfield led West Memphis with 22 points and was the only Blue Devil in double figures. Anthony Borden, a lanky 6-8 sophomore, was distraction in the paint for Charleston with his long arms.
Borden ended the night with four points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks.
Sherrell had a good night running the point for the Bluejays with 12 points and led Charleston with eight rebounds and seven assists. Running mate Riggens had 13 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Brian Parham did his best Williams impersonation for Charleston, as the 6-5 junior had 14 points.
Charleston (1-0) played Pine Bluff, Ark. on Saturday afternoon. Results were not available at press time.
NMCC could not give first year head coach Travis Day his first win of the season, as the Pine Bluff Zebras dispatched the Eagles in the first game of the shootout 80-51.
The Zebras outscored the Eagles 29-14 in the second quarter to open up a close game.
Pine Bluff led 44-22 and took advantage of 16 Eagle turnovers in the first half.
"The effort was good tonight but the guys played a little tight," said Day. "Our football guys just got into practice so we are a little behind the rest of the teams right now. It was a big crowd for the first game and the guys had a little nervous energy that got the best of them. The future looks good and we will be okay."
Pine Bluff had several crowd-pleasing dunks in the game, none better than the one thrown down by 6-foot-4 senior Louis Rowland. The Zebras' Sean Prator got a clean steal from the Eagles and looked to coast down the floor for an uncontested lay-up. However, Prator noted that Rowland was streaking behind and threw a perfect off-the-glass pass to Rowland for the two-
handed monster dunk.
NMCC ended the night with 26 turnovers and never could recover from the second half collapse. Leslie Williams and Marquese Gates led the Eagles with 10 points apiece. Gates also had a nice two-handed breakaway slam from his 5-10 frame.
Despite the loss, Day had praise for his team and for his first game experience.
"We had a couple guys come off the bench and play really well in Patrick Guest and Darrence Perkins," said Day. "Those two played hard and flat out got after it. It was the first game of the year and like I said the guys were kind of nervous. As for me, it was very exciting out there and everything. It was enjoyable to see in the stands some of the people that made this moment possible. It was just an exciting time."
Pine Bluff had four players reach double figures led by Marcus Murray with 22 points and Lecoya Strain chipped in 18 for the Zebras.
NMCC (0-1) faces West Memphis, Ark. on Saturday. Results were not available at press time.
The Bell City Cubs basketball team fell to the Memphis Central Warriors 72
-38 in the second game of the day.
The Cubs had problems breaking the pressure defense of the Warriors and committed 23 turnovers in the contest.
Adding to the woes of the Cubs was 6-foot-10 center Will Bogan, who was held in check by Central in the first half. Bogan had only four points at the half and needed 10 points in the final quarter, when Bell City trailed 46-28 heading into the quarter, to finish with 16 points.
Bell City only had three players besides Bogan to scratch the scorebook. Phillip Gross hit two 3-pointers and finished with nine points. Nick Niemczyk had seven points and six rebounds, while junior Austin Bush hit two 3-
pointers for his six points for the Cubs.
In addition to his point total, Bogan finished his night for Bell City with 10 rebounds (six offensive) and five blocks.
Reubin Clayton led Central with 23 points. Tra Payne had 12 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Warriors. Freshman Tim Pete and junior Sam Hill rounded out the double-digit scorers for Central with 11 points and 10 points respectively.
Bell City (0-1) played Byhalia, Miss., on Saturday.
The Vashon Wolverines showed on Friday night that despite a new coach, they are the same Vashon and waxed Byhalia, Miss., 75-28.
The Wolverines jumped on the Indians from the tip with in-your-face full court pressure. Vashon forced Byhalia to commit 17 turnovers in the first half and 26 for the game. Vashon led 52-16 at the half.
Byhalia had no answer for 6-foot-7 Vashon senior Leon Powell.
In limited minutes due to the point differential, Powell had 23 points with six crowd pleasing dunks, 10 rebounds and five blocks.
Vashon had 10 players score in the contest, while the Indians had only one player reach double-digits. To add insult to injury, Vashon held Byhalia scoreless in the fourth quarter with the running clock.